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Christine Ryan
Interim Bureau Chief

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History of the NC Retaliatory Employment
Discrimination Act (REDA)

The North Carolina Department of Labor is charged by statute with enforcing the North Carolina Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act [“REDA”] (N.C.G.S. §95-240 through §95-245), which may be found at REDA is one of several laws enacted after the disastrous 1991 Imperial Food Products fire in which 25 employees were killed and 49 employees were injured.  An investigation found numerous violations of the various laws designed to protect workers.  Prior to REDA becoming effective on Oct.1, 1992, the N.C. Occupational Safety and Health Act, the N.C. Wage and Hour Act, the Mine Safety and Health Act, and the Workers' Compensation Act all had provisions protecting workers who filed claims or complaints.  At that time, the enforcement of these laws was handled by the different government agencies.

The passage of REDA brought the enforcement all of these worker protection provisions under a single agency, the N.C. Department of Labor.  The department's Employment Discrimination Bureau administers REDA.  Thus, workers and employers deal with a single state agency that provides technical assistance, answers questions, and investigates complaints made by workers.  Workers can file written complaints with the EDB if they feel they have been retaliated or discriminated against because they have engaged in activities protected under the Workers' Compensation Act, the Wage and Hour Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Mine Safety and Health Act, sickle cell or hemoglobin C carriers, participation in the National Guard, participating in the Juvenile Justice Act process, genetic testing requests or information, domestic violence victims, and employees reporting activities of their employers under the Paraphernalia Control Act.  The EDB then conducts impartial investigations of all complaints to determine if a REDA violation exists.



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